Belfast Telegraph

Simply glowing... the praise heaped on Derry by the UK media

By Donna Deeney

The message that Londonderry is the place to visit during 2013 is reaching the rest of the UK.

Glowing media coverage of what the city has to offer is appearing in the national press and on television.

This week journalists from heavyweight papers the Financial Times, the Independent and the Sunday Times have all penned enthusiastic reports about the rise and rise of Derry as the UK's first City of Culture.

A steady trickle of feelgood stories about Derry as the destination for all things cultural during 2013 is fast turing into a torrent and more and more column inches and broadcast minutes are been given to the city.

Yesterday in a Financial Times feature, journalist Jamie Smyth wrote: “There are signs of progress. Young entrepreneurs, who had left Londonderry to work abroad, are returning to set up businesses.

“The city council believes the cultural programme can generate an extra £500m for the local economy and triple visitor numbers to 1.3m in 2013.

“Londonderry, which celebrates the 400th anniversary of its city walls this year, is being reshaped with £100m invested on regeneration projects.

“These include a peace bridge spanning the river Foyle and the symbolic transformation of the former Ebrington army barracks into a cultural centre.”

This was preceded by an equally favourable piece from the Independent's Tom Adair who chronicles the tour he was given of the city by Martin McCrossan from Derry City Tours and lists a plethora of interesting facts about the city.

Last October, Lonely Planet, the travellers’ bible, set the ball rolling when it placed Derry on its top 10 cities worldwide to visit list for this year — one of only two cities anywhere in Europe to make the list.

The Culture Company's head of marketing Fiona Kane is the person who has been tasked with enticing media to the city to show just why Derry won the title.

She said her job is helped by a programme of events that speaks volumes.

“Just off the back of the pieces from the BBC, Channel 4, FT and the Independent there have been reports from the Sunday Times, the Daily Telegraph and a Montreal newspaper.

“There is a plethora of activity that has never happened before and it is great to be able to talk to them about everything that is coming up,” she said.

“Our rich cultural history is what helped us win the title in the first place so I understand when there is mention of the Troubles.

“I am generally happy enough with what has been said and written but I know people were disappointed with a Channel 4 News piece from Matthew Cain.

“I was disappointed myself, I think there were aspects of it that didn't portray the true picture of the city but Cain was very enthusiastic and expressed an interest in coming back.”

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